With the latest installment in the Mario Tennis series coming soon to Nintendo Switch at the time of writing, I thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit one of my favourite versions.
It’s not often that a handheld version of a game can honestly claim to be superior to its counterpart on TV-based consoles — and this was something that occurred even less frequently back in the days where the 8-bit Game Boy Color and the 64-bit Nintendo 64 coexisted happily alongside one another. But 2000’s Mario Tennis pulled it off with a spectacularly ambitious, interesting and ballsy handheld version that, for solo play at least, ran rings around its big brother.
It achieved this primarily by not even attempting to be a “port” of the rather multiplayer-centric N64 version — not that this would have been possible given the disparity in technological capabilities between the two platforms — but instead providing a unique, solo-focused experience. One that is still worth playing today — and which Mario Tennis Aces’ single-player Adventure Mode has undoubtedly taken some inspiration from.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Mario Tennis
Nintendo has always been good at handheld games — even long before its Game Boy and subsequent platforms were a thing.
Those of you as old as me will doubtless remember the Game & Watch series, a range of 60 handheld electronic LCD games created by Nintendo and released between 1980 and 1991. These dinky little devices perfectly encapsulated what makes a “good handheld game” — something that is easy to learn but tough to master, and which you can either while away a few minutes with or engross yourself in for several hours thanks to their inherently addictive, rewarding quality.
The Game & Watch series was designed by Gunpei Yokoi, who later went on to design 1989’s astronomically popular Game Boy. It’s only appropriate, then, that a number of the games that really kickstarted Nintendo’s efforts in the handheld space went on to get their own adaptations on that platform, beginning with the Europe-only release of Game Boy Gallery in 1995.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Game Boy Gallery
The Shantae series as a whole is a wonderful symbol of endurance, and of holding on to the things you believe in.
I’m not talking about the narratives of the games themselves — though for sure this theme certainly makes an appearance numerous times throughout Shantae’s career to date — but rather the fact that series creator Matt Bozon and the team at WayForward have always believed in the quality of these games, even during difficult times.
It’s gratifying to see that, at the time of writing, the Shantae series as a whole is finally coming to see some mainstream acceptance and appreciation with its latest installment 1/2 Genie Hero. But this doesn’t mean the earlier games aren’t worth checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact… so let’s go right back to the beginning.
Continue reading Shantae: You Stay
I grew up with flight simulators, primarily due to my father being both a proper propellerhead and a writer for a computing magazine — in other words, we got a lot of review copies of such games.
One thing that struck me about the genre was that it was rather rare to see games based around just flying; instead, prolific developers such as MicroProse tended to emphasise the military angle, simulating exciting aircraft such as the F-16 “Fighting Falcon”, the F-15 “Strike Eagle” and the somewhat-less-exciting-but-appeared-in-a-movie A-6 Intruder.
There was Microsoft Flight Simulator, of course — or subLOGIC’s Flight Simulator as it was known in the early days — but that was slow-paced, rather complicated and, according to my father “not a game”. Clearly there was room for something in between the two extremes.
Continue reading N64 Essentials: Pilotwings 64
Well, friends, it’s finally happening: as of the time of writing, you can no longer add credit to your Wii Shop Channel account, meaning that if you don’t already have some on there, you can’t buy anything.
With this in mind, I loaded up on points the day before the payment processing facility was shut down for good and downloaded a number of Wii-exclusive digital-only games that, come 2019, will no longer be available to buy at all.
One of those games was Konami’s Castlevania: The Adventure – ReBirth, a remake of Game Boy title Castlevania: The Adventure. So, was it worth the last-minute scramble for 1,000 Wii Points?
Continue reading Wii Essentials: Castlevania: The Adventure – ReBirth
It’s quite peculiar, when you think about it — an awful lot of what are now regarded as Nintendo’s best games initially appeared on what turned out to be one of its most commercially underperforming systems: the dear old Wii U.
Given that games like Mario Kart 8 were universally well-received on the Wii U, it’s not altogether surprising that Nintendo would want to take the time to port them to a platform like the Switch, which has already absolutely crushed its predecessor in terms of sales.
And while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t a radical reinvention of its source material, it provides enough improvements over the original experience to make it a worthwhile purchase. Not to mention the prospect of having rather more people to play against!
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s main cast runs the gamut from spunky, optimistic youths to a few rather more reserved characters.
Mòrag and her Blade Brighid (Meleph and Kagutsuchi in the Japanese original) fall into this latter category, both offering their own distinctive take on being the “detached voice of reason” in most situations.
Both of them are interesting characters in their own right, so let’s take a closer look at both today.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Mòrag and Brighid